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  Sicily

cannoli
erice view of castle

Travel with us to Sicily, the center of the Mediterranean, and discover this open air museum. On this tour we take you to western Sicily, starting in Palermo, and moving down the coast to places like Trapani, Erice, and the Valley of the Temples. To understand Sicily and its complex history is to understand the blending and fusion of multiple cultures over the centuries. Sicily's rich cuisine evokes its Greek, Roman, and Norman origins, not to mention the flavors of Spain when Spain ruled the island. Authenticity is important to us; we have researched hotels, guides, restaurants, vineyards, and cooking classes that will provide you with an experience you will not forget.

Below is a typical itinerary

DAY 1 - Palermo

Upon arrival at Palermo airport meet your guide and your driver and travel the short distance to the historic center. Time to relax at the hotel before you gather for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.

 

DAY 2 - Palermo - 2700 years of history and street food traditions

 

A unique patchwork of artistic remains, Palermo has been conquered over three millennia by different civilizations of the Mediterranean.  Your guide will take you to the colorful alleys of the Capo market where you’ll see why Palermo street food is so famous. Later in the day we will visit some of the attractions including a workshop of a puppet maker, the Norman Cathedral that almost appears to be made of desert sand and the historic Kalsa district, you’ll experience the contrasts that make Palermo so unique. 

DAY 3 - Cooking with the Duchess

 

We will spend the morning with the Duchess Nicoletta Palma enjoying a fabulous hands-on cooking lesson. We will prepare a traditional Sicilian lunch in the tiled kitchen of her 18th century palazzo. After lunch we'll visit the palace, the ballroom and the library that belonged to Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, the author of the world-famous novel (and movie) “The Leopard”.

In the afternoon we will visit the Monreale Cathedral boasting 6,500m2 of swirling golden mosaics and a beautiful cloister.

 

DAY 4 - Erice, the Salt Pans & Down to Agrigento

 

We’ll travel today to Agrigento and our first stop will be in Erice, a wonderfully preserved Mediaeval town offering breathtaking views on the Egadi Islands. Erice is home to a small historic pastry shop where you will taste the excellent Signora Maria Grammatico's genovesi with cream or ricotta.

We’ll then take a beautiful coastal road to follow the historic salt route, a unique scenery dotted with windmills and the so-called salt houses (mountains of salt- covered with tiles).

As we are in the Marsala DOC area we will visit one of the oldest and more fascinating Marsala wineries. We'll enjoy wine tasting and lunch before we continue to Agrigento.

DAY 5- Village lifestyle and “famiata” cooking class

We’ll spend the morning in a small village in the countryside. Together with our local guide you will stroll the town’s streets heading to the shepherd’s house to taste freshly made ricotta cheese that is still warm, step into a century-old bakery and have lunch with the family in the courtyard.

 

Back to our resort this afternoon, you’ll have a very special cooking class. In Sicily, the wood oven has always been a symbolic element of community, and moments of joy and sharing with friends and family are celebrated around it. You’ll join a Sicilian Mamma for the famiata. In Sicily the verb “famiare” means to light a big flame in the wood oven until the top turns white. That’s the sign the oven is ready. You will prepare the dough for local specialties like miscati or scacciati seasoned with tomato, garlic, anchovies and pecorino cheese and do the baking and learn that “famiare” in Sicily means much more, it is about preparing, chatting, sharing, and enjoying together good food and wine.

DAY 6 - The Valle dei Templi and on to the Baroque area

 

We'll enjoy one more delicious homemade breakfast before bidding farewell to our hosts and head to the UNESCO site of the Valle dei Templi, one of the most important archaeological sites in the world with eight temples built between 510 BC and 430 BC and surrounded by centuries-old olive trees and almond trees. We'll enjoy a light lunch in an ancient farmhouse within the park recently restored thanks to a beautiful project to make the valley's soils, almond groves, pistachio groves and vineyards productive again.

 

In the afternoon we'll continue to the Baroque area of Sicily, a quiet and authentic region filled with a wealth of historical, cultural and culinary attractions.  Picture eight small towns built in honey-colored stone with old-world charm that are truly awe-inspiring. This area was destroyed by an strong earthquake in 1693 and rebuilt entirely in a such a unique Sicilian version of the Baroque style that earned the area the UNESCO world heritage patronage.

DAY 7 - Ragusa & Modica

After breakfast we'll pick oranges, tangerines and figs from the trees or go for a dip in the pool before heading off to explore the region. We'll visit Ragusa Ibla, a hilltop town and a jewel of Baroque architecture. We'll visit Modica, a lovely and authentic town nestled on the sides of two valleys filled with little houses, alleys and stairs. This area is a culinary paradise. You’ll sample the famous Modicano chocolate at the oldest factory in town and the stuffed bread Scacce at local spots.

We'll end the day at the small inland area of Mazzarone. From the table grape harvest to the olive harvest and from a “torrone” class to a homemade soap class, depending on the season you will have today a truly authentic experience and spend a great time with farmers and artisans guardians of old traditions!

DAY 8 - Departure

 

After breakfast and check out, transfer to Catania airport.

Arrivederci Sicilia!

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